Accidental risks

Correspondent for accidental risks: Hervé Breulet – 04 229 82 03

Acidité des fumées

Flue gas acidity

A new test method is being developed in 2020 at Engie’s request. This test determines the acidity content of cable fumes when subjected to a large-scale test (EN 50399), i.e. a test that tests the finished product (cable) installed under conditions representative of an installation (as opposed to the official acidity test according to EN 60754-2, which is strictly standardized and corresponds more to an acidity potential test for a given material).

Annual interlaboratory qualification tests have demonstrated the robust results and distinctly reliable performance of the facility’s system configuration, achieved by implementing full equipment maintenance and substantial staff skills. The laboratory also keeps its tests and procedures up to date with new modifications to European and international standards. The laboratory is accredited by BELAC as a testing laboratory (certificate 060-TEST).

Règlementation incendie Bâtiments industriels

Fire regulations for industrial buildings

ISSeP offers assistance to industrial building operators in the application of Annex 6 of the Royal Decree of July 12, 2012 amending the Royal Decree of July 7, 1994 laying down basic fire safety standards.

Laboratoire de comportement au feu

Fire behavior laboratory

In the context of fire risk prevention, legislation issued by the various levels of government (EU, Member States and Regions) sets out the requirements to be met by materials and products placed on the market. With over 30 years’ experience in the field, ISSeP’s fire behavior laboratory is equipped to characterize the reaction to fire of materials/products and analyze gaseous effluents.

It is notified for the European Construction Products Regulation no. 305/2011, for standard EN50575 Power, control and communication cables – Cables for general applications in construction works subject to reaction to fire requirements, and also for article 46 on “Use of facilities external to the notified body’s testing laboratory”.

Nearly 400 tests were carried out for more than 25 different stakeholders from the public, private, Belgian and international sectors. And this number is still rising.

Recherche des causes d'accidents

Accident causation

ISSeP carries out post-disaster analyses (fire, explosion and water damage) of various types of property and infrastructure: vehicles, homes, businesses, industries, etc. These interventions are carried out at the request of public prosecutors and courts, legal experts, appraisal offices, insurance companies and businesses, often acting as a consultant to the expert. This activity draws on ISSeP’s wide range of skills (chemical analysis, mathematical models, mechanical and electrical testing, IR thermography, simulations, etc.). ISSeP still intervenes on an ad hoc basis to determine the importance and effectiveness of post-fire decontamination.

ISSeP takes part in the organization of the “RCCI” training cycle (Research into the Causes and Circumstances of Fires), in collaboration with ARSON Prevention Cub, ANPI, INCC…

Certficiation matériel roulant ferroviaire

Railway rolling stock certification

Since 2016, an ISSeP agent has been working as an expert for a notified certifier for the application of the European “TSI” (Technical Specification for Interoperability) directives for railway rolling stock. ISSeP is responsible for the conformity (fire resistance) of materials and products used in new rail vehicles.

Appui scientifique et technique à la cellule RAM, SPW

Scientific and technical support for the RAM (Risques d’Accidents Majeurs) unit

Hazardous installations: Sizing of fire extinguishing water retention basins

When fire impacts storage facilities, production and processing sites, it is essential to collect fire extinguishing water to prevent contaminated water from polluting the environment.

Extinguishing water” means :

  • Water from fire hoses (with additives, emulsifiers, wetting agents, etc.)
  • Hazardous chemicals (toxic, noxious and flammable) on the site
  • Burnt products from the disaster zone (decomposition of materials)
  • Pollutants recovered by soil leaching

Indeed, contaminated fire extinguishing water can cause serious harm to the environment when discharged into soil and waterways. Various methods can be used to calculate the retention volume required for extinguishing water.

However, specific methods are not defined, and calculated volumes vary considerably from one method to another. What’s more, in most cases they have been developed for typical fires, which account for up to 90% of the total number of such incidents.

So-called catastrophic fires, where the fire spreads in an unusual way, are not taken into account in these methods. According to experts in the field of water and industrial accidents, a review of a number of catastrophic fires shows that the quantity of extinguishing water used in these accidents was far greater than that calculated according to most known models, hence the need for larger retention capacities.

In view of this, we need to identify a relevant and robust method that can be applied in Wallonia. With this in mind, ISSeP was commissioned by the RAM (Risques d’Accidents Majeurs) unit to analyze and apply four models for calculating the volume of fire extinguishing water retention basins at two companies classified as SEVESO high threshold:

  • The French method is based on 2 technical guides (Guides techniques d’appui au dimensionnement des besoins en eau pour la défense extérieure contre l’incendie D9 and de dimensionnement des rétentions des eaux incendies D9A).
  • The Verband Der Schadenversicherer E.V. method,
  • The Dutch method,
  • Swiss method.

Firstly, ISSeP reviewed the state of the art in the design of retention basins and the main factors influencing volume calculations. A first report written for the Cellule RAM.

Secondly, to compare the models for calculating fire water retention basins, ISSeP applied the four methods to two SEVESO high threshold sites. Depending on the methods used, the results show similarities and differences. The comparative study will shortly be submitted to professionals in the field (firefighters) for their opinion.

Gestion des réservoirs de mazout

Technical support for the implementation of a global and coherent management of fuel oil tanks

The Arrêté du Gouvernement wallon du 18 juillet 2019, relatif à la gestion des dépôts de mazout utilisés à des fins de chauffage d’une capacité comprise entre 500 et 24.999 liters et modifiant diverses dispositions en la matière (M.B. le 13.11.2019) was repealed in April 2020. A new decree will shortly be drawn up by the Walloon government. In order to implement this future decree in the best possible conditions, ISSeP has set about drafting a technical guide in collaboration with industry players to accompany the aforementioned decree. In particular, this guide will specify the requirements for these fuel oil storage facilities, e.g. for their design, positioning, ancillary equipment, periodic inspections, etc. The aim is to control the risk of environmental pollution from these facilities, by bringing the vast majority of them into compliance with new requirements that have not yet been declared. Attention is also being paid to the costs generated by the implementation of this new decree, the aim being to keep it reasonable for the owners of these installations.

The new decree will also mean an increase in the number of inspections carried out on fuel oil depots, which will require the training of authorized technicians in liquid fuel depots. ISSeP has set up a basic training course for these technicians, enabling them to obtain their certificate of aptitude for the Walloon region. This training enables them to acquire theoretical knowledge, followed by practical training on a reservoir to gain more hands-on experience of reservoir controls and the measuring equipment to be used. Lastly, refresher training ensures that skills are maintained over time, and that the technical developments available for carrying out inspections are kept up to date.

Finally, ISSeP has also drawn up a test protocol setting out the minimum test points that oil tank leak testers, using both the acoustic and vacuum methods, must meet in Wallonia.

Etude des zones vulnérables Seveso

Study on the delimitation of vulnerable zones (Land-Use Planning) around Seveso sites in Wallonia

The June 2016 Cooperation Agreement translating the Seveso III Directive into Belgian law states in Article 252 that appropriate distances must be maintained between Seveso sites and urban areas, areas accessible to the public and areas of natural interest. Furthermore, the Code de Développement Territorial (CoDT) (Article D.IV.57 1er and 2ème and Appendix II-7 Art. 16) specifies that for permit applications concerning property in the vicinity of an establishment posing a major risk to people, property or the environment, the opinion of the Service Public de Wallonie is sought. The same applies to industrial permit applications. The “Risques d’Accidents Majeurs” (RAM) unit is responsible for issuing the above-mentioned opinion.

In order to give their opinion on permit applications for property near a Seveso site, the RAM unit has commissioned ISSeP since July 2019 to carry out risk mapping, based on isorisk curves, compiled in the form of vulnerable zones on the SPW Geoportail.

To achieve this, a scientific risk quantification methodology(Quantitative Risk Assessment, QRA) was developed by the RAM team. This methodology is based on a probabilistic approach, with a combination of the consequences calculated for each credible accident scenario that could occur in the company and the frequencies of occurrence of these scenarios, in order to obtain an individual risk. The effects considered (thresholds for irreversible effects) on humans are of various types: toxic (mainly AEGL3), radiative (6.4 kW/m2) and overpressure (50 mbar).

Isorisk curves are calculated using two simulation software packages: Safeti, from DNV GL (Det Norske Veritas & Germanischer Lloyd) for liquid and gaseous substances, and IMESAFR (Institute of Makers of Explosives Safety Analysis for Risk) from A-P-T Research (Analysis, Planning, Test Research) for explosive substances.